May 2015 – Women’s Wellness + Natural Birth

May 2015_Page_01Welcome to the May issue of Natural Awakenings magazine. Our main topics this month are Women’s Wellness and Natural Birth.

We delve into women’s wellness with an interview with actress and author Laura Prepon, who tells how she has adopted a healthier lifestyle. We’ve included some great articles addressing how women can optimize breast health and fend off breast cancer, and also hear Sandy Messionnier’s story. Messionnier blended conventional and complementary treatments to ultimately survive her battle with breast cancer.

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, a subject which has deeply affected the Natural Awakenings team. Karen Adams, our editor, lost her husband, Ed McGrath, to brain cancer earlier this year. Now my mother, Karen Garland, who has served as the magazine’s graphic designer and my all-around, indispensable partner-in-crime, was recently diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.

In honor of our loved ones and others suffering from all types of cancers, we’ve interviewed local practitioners of complementary and alternative cancer care for our Community Spotlight this month.

We’ve also compiled some great information about natural birth options for moms-to-be, and I found out I’m in the 1 percent (no, not that 1 percent). Statistics show that fewer than 1 percent of births happen outside a hospital, and I had two of my three sons at home with a certified nurse midwife and a doula. I can attest that I’m glad to be in that minority because those were the two most peaceful and moving experiences of my life.

Speaking of babies, I recently attended the Great Cloth Diaper Exchange and Natural Parenting Fair in Roanoke, and met some wonderful doulas and midwives and all sorts of other folks who support healthy and holistic birth and parenting. Look for more information on this and other natural parenting resources in our August “Parenting with Presence” issue.

One of the most valuable lessons that birth and death can teach us is that every moment of our lives is precious and worth celebrating. Fortunately, we have a season of beautiful weather and fun, exciting events ahead to help us get out there and celebrate life with our community, friends and family. So, please check out our calendar of events and start making some plans!


April 2015 Nature’s Wisdom + Healthy Home Issue

April_2015_Page_01Welcome to Spring! And welcome to the April issue of Natural Awakenings. Our themes this month are “Nature’s Wisdom + Healthy Home.” To inspire you, here are some great thoughts about nature – which is, after all, our true home. We hope you will enjoy the great reading we offer this month, and every month, on how to protect our precious earth and those that live upon it. Enjoy!

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

-Albert Einstein

On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.

-Jules Renard



I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.

-e.e. cummings

Nature always wears the color of the spirit.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

-John Lubbock

Water is the driving force of all nature.

-Leonardo da Vinci

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.

-Henri Matisse

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.

-Henry David Thoreau

Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky.

-Khalil Gibran

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.

-Walt Whitman

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

-Vincent Van Gogh

I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

-Galileo Galilei

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.


Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

-Lao Tzu

To sit in solitude, to think in solitude with only the music of the stream and the cedar to break the flow of silence, there lies the value of wilderness.

-John Muir

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

-John Burroughs

The earth is what we all have in common.

-Wendell Berry


Happy Earth Day and Happy Spring!


March 2015 Animal Rights + New Healthy Cuisine Issue

Mar15_VABR_WEB_Page_01As I write this, I am enjoying the view from my home office window of about 8 inches of beautiful, sparkling snow. All of our familial creatures—that is, me, the hubby, our three boys, four cats, one dog and one goldfish—are enjoying a snow day off from work and school, and generally being cozy.

On cold or snowy days like these, I often wonder how all of the homeless animals on the streets and in the countryside are faring. With these thoughts comes gratitude for the shelters, animal rescues and volunteers that dedicate their time and energy toward ending animal suffering and finding these sweet companions forever-homes. We explore the topic of “animal welfare” in this month’s issue, and have assembled articles and resources focused on helping companion, farm and wild animals alike.

Maybe you’re also concerned about the health and welfare of farm animals used to make the food you eat. Did you know that labels like “natural”, “free range” and “antibiotic-free” have nothing to do with animal welfare or environmental sustainability? Check out our news brief about Animal Welfare approved, a great resource for label information and local sources of humanely-raised foods. (Hint: in our area these include Leaping Waters farm in Shawsville and Happy Rooster farm in Pilot, as well as Local Roots and Lucky Restaurants in Roanoke.)

This month, we also take a look at new distribution trends in the health and local foods industries. Healthy, locally-sourced foods are becoming more readily available at “mainstream” restaurants—for example, Montano’s Restaurant in Roanoke sources their produce and meats from local farms. Please stop by there for a meal, and tell them Natural Awakenings sent you!

Speaking of local farms, the proposed Mountain View natural gas pipeline is slated to travel right through Four Corners Farm in Franklin County. This month’s community spotlight talks to local leaders about the pipeline’s impact and a forum slated for March 9th that will address the issue in more depth.

Have you heard that Kale is King (and likes to be massaged)? Read “Love your Greens” to find out why, then check out the “All Hail Kale” recipes from local gourmets at Roanoke Natural Foods CoOp, Health Nut and Seven Springs Farm.

Don’t forget to mark April 25th on your calendar for Earth Day Roanoke at Wasena Park, and check out our April issue for this and other Earth Day activities in the region!



February 2015 Enlightened Relationships + Healing Grief


In this season of love, here is an assortment of inspiration for you, on many different kinds of love. May you feel and show love this month!

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Where there is love there is life.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

Mother Teresa

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature.”

Jane Austen

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

Robert A. Heinlein

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Lao Tzu

“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.’”

Erich Fromm

 “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

Elbert Hubbard

“A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself. . . . That’s what real love amounts to: letting a person be what he really is.”

Jim Morrison

 “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

Paulo Coelho

 “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Albert Einstein

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor – such is my idea of happiness.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”

Albert Schweitzer


Tracy Garland, Publisher

January 2015 Whole Systems Health + Energy Boosters Issue

Jan15_VABR_WEB_Page_01Happy New Year! This is the time for making resolutions to develop new healthy routines and to break unproductive habits or patterns of thinking. This month’s Natural Awakenings has some great information to help you start the new year on the right foot!

Our Community Spotlight this month features indoor activities in the area to give you ideas for healthy family fun this winter.

Our feature article details how important our metabolism is to our whole system health.

Our Healing Ways article on energy boosters is one of my favorites. It describes simple ways to increase energy. Surprisingly, time and relationship management play a key role. Diet and exercise can as well. Area physician Dr. Eduardo Castro weighs in with his outlook and advice on which foods to avoid and which ones to seek out to promote optimal energy production.

Perfectionism has been a struggle for me and many others that I know, and having a perfectionist attitude can be counterproductive. Not only that, but mastering your perfectionist tendencies can help improve relationships, health and happiness. Our Inspiration article tells you why.

I love simple articles with pros and cons of different types of products, and our piece on eco-friendly floors offers descriptions of the greenest options for underfoot. Even if you’re not looking at flooring now, you may be in the future, or you may simply want to know more about the flooring where you and your family members work and live.

If you’re like me and constantly concerned about how much time your kids spend with their electronic devices (“Put down your tablet and go outside!” Sound familiar?), then you’ll appreciate our Healthy Kids feature. “An App a Day” reviews alternative, fun, visual learning computer apps for kids that also teach them the ways and means of a healthy lifestyle.

January is a slow month for activities and events, and is the perfect time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. But don’t forget to live in the present. As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

I hope your new year brings you peace and prosperity! This year, please be sure to visit our advertisers and let them know you found them in Natural Awakenings. Happy New Year!


December 2014 Awakening Humanity + Holiday Themes Issue

Dec14_VABR_Web2_Page_01Happy holidays! It’s the season to spend time with family and friends, to reflect on the events of the past year and start making plans for the year to come. We hope this issue of Natural Awakenings will help you on your annual journey.
Our feature article, “Sacred Activism,” explores paths to becoming an agent for positive change in your community and across the planet. Kids can also start on their own paths to positive change through self-reflection, giving their special talents and joining forces with others. Our Healthy Kids article, written especially for children, can show them how.
Speaking of joining forces, consider joining the newly formed Green Drinks chapter, featured in our news briefs. Green Drinks is a great way to network with environmental professionals in the community in a relaxed environment. The new chapter is being hosted by the Grandin CoLab, which is the subject of this month’s Community Spotlight.
Food is at the core of many of our holiday festivities, and special traditions help ensure that we get the most of our family time. In “Happy Feasting to All,” you’ll find ways to help deepen the meaning of the holidays through food and festivities. We hope you’ll try the handful of healthy holiday recipes as well.
You can enjoy the season of giving even more fully when you know you’re contributing to the local economy. Our Blue Ridge Green Travel feature highlights some spots where you can find arts and crafts made right here in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. If you are a crafter yourself, our Eco Tip provides ideas on beautiful tree trimmings you can make that will in turn provide forage for your neighborhood birds.
After the holiday celebrations are through, do your new year’s resolutions include starting an exercise routine? Our Fit Body article, “Find your Fitness Style,” will help you choose the workout that’s most likely to work for you. And if you’re interested in “greening-up” your beauty routine in 2015, check out our Natural Beauty article, which outlines aspects of organic beauty salons, and features two local salons that have made the commitment to organic and natural products and services.
As always, dear readers, please visit our advertisers, whose support brings you Natural Awakenings magazine every month, and let them know you found them here.
See you next year!

November 2014 Personal Empowerment + Beauty Issue

November_2014_Page_01Happy Fall, y’all! We’re happy to bring you the November 2014 Personal Empowerment + Beauty issue of Natural Awakenings magazine.

Are you thinking about your New Year’s resolutions yet? Get inspired with our feature article “Powerful You! Six Ways to Create the Life You Want.” It is full of ideas to kick-start your journey to a better you in such areas as physical and emotional health, relationships, work, finances and spirituality.

The art and science of creating natural beauty products is fascinating and fun! In our Green Living feature this month, we explore this topic and offer you simple recipes for wholesome, homemade personal care and beauty products. Not only are these great for personal use, but consider bottling some up for holiday gifts for friends, family and co-workers!

Speaking of the holidays, if you’re like me, it’s so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping and events, and wind up going in too many directions. In doing so, we often lose the meaning and lose out on the real fun. In our Healthy Kids feature this month, you’ll find simple solutions for simplifying the holidays while giving kids the true gifts of the season: time, love and tradition.

One great way to show kids the true meaning of the holidays is to teach them how to help out in their community. In this month’s Community Spotlight, we highlight some local charities and how you can help them, along with a list of other non-profits and their websites for your exploration.

Last but not least, let’s not forget our pets in the holiday rush. Our Natural Pet feature shows you some simple ways to help your favorite companion (dog, cat, fish or bird) celebrate the season with you.

If you read this in time, please be sure to come out to the 15th annual Green Living and Energy Expo at the Roanoke Civic Center on November 7 and 8. The event, hosted by the Association of Energy Conservation Professionals, is THE place to be to learn about product, services, businesses and non-profits who can help you live a greener, healthier life.

Look for our Holiday Gift Guide in next month’s issue of Natural Awakenings. As always, we welcome your ideas and input!

Happy Thanksgiving,


October Sustainable Communities + Chiropractic and Acupuncture Issue

October 2014 Natural Awakenings Magazine

October 2014 Natural Awakenings Magazine

Hi and welcome to the October 2014 issue of Natural Awakenings magazine. This month, we delve into the topics of Sustainable Communities + Chiropractic and Acupuncture.

Increasingly, progressive U.S. cities are rethinking redevelopment based on healthy housing, friendly neighborhoods, upgraded transportation, clean energy, local food and waste reduction. In “Sustainable Cityscapes,” we give you an overview of the top sustainability concerns, plus a brief look at what’s happening in two progressive local communities: the City of Roanoke and the Town of Blacksburg. Both municipalities have hired sustainability coordinators to oversee green and healthy living improvements that will benefit residents and the planet.

Speaking of sustainability, mark your calendar for the annual Green Living and Energy Expo, on November 7 and 8 at the Roanoke Civic Center. This year marks the 15th anniversary for this important regional event from the nonprofit Association of Energy Conservation Professionals (AECP). This educational expo is full of great information, hands-on demonstrations, speakers and inspiration for ways to make our community, and our world, a greener and healthier place.

In health news, chiropractic treatment and acupuncture have long been proven effective treatments for pain individually, but anecdotal evidence suggests that a regimen combining the two treatments creates a whole effect that is greater than the sum of its parts. Check out “Dynamic Duo” for a peek at this newest trend in pain management and stay tuned to Natural Awakenings for results of published studies as they become available.

Halloween is just around the corner and parents like me may be looking for heathier and greener ways to delight our little goblins. Our Kid’s Health feature this month provides some great ideas.

Organizations such as the Roanoke Regional Partnership, the Roanoke/Alleghany Regional Commission and the Roanoke Convention and Visitor’s Bureau are working to increase and promote the region’s outdoor amenities not only for the benefit of local residents, but also to attract more and better economic development to the region. Check out our Blue Ridge Green Travel feature this month on the growing outdoor amenities in the Roanoke region. Also, please note our news brief about the upcoming airing of the nationally televised episode of Growing a Greener World, which focuses on green happenings in Roanoke, and then tune in!

Natural Awakenings’ November issue will focus on Personal Empowerment + Beauty. Plus, we’ll be kicking off the holiday season in a green and healthy way! So be sure pick up your copy orview the current issue and archives online at




September Conscious Caretaking + Yoga Issue

Sept14_VABR_WEB_Page_01 Welcome to the September issue of Natural Awakenings, our caretaking issue. So many of us either are caring for loved ones, or have loved ones caring for us, that it seems fitting to offer some great thoughts on this important, sacred and sometimes difficult part of life. Caretaking also applies to the world around us. Natural Awakenings readers are known for their compassion toward others, both human and non-human, and our environment. Here is some food for thought on care and compassion.

There are four kinds of people in the world: Those who have been caregivers; Those who currently are caregivers; Those who will be caregivers; And those who will need caregivers. ― Rosalynn Carter

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. ― Dalai Lama XIV

To love a person is to learn the song in their heart, and sing it to them when they have forgotten. ― Thomas Chandler

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you. ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ― Leo Buscaglia

I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness. ― Mother Teresa

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace. ― Albert Schweitzer Compassion is the basis of morality. ― Arthur Schopenhauer

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ― Albert Einstein

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. ― Maya Angelou

Wishing all of you a month blessed with good care, for yourselves, for your loved ones and for the world around us.


August Transformative Education + Kids Health Issue


We’re pleased to present the August Transformative Education + Children’s Health edition of Natural Awakenings magazine! In this month’s issue, you’ll find information about innovative learning approaches for adults and for kids, as well as holistic ways to keep kids healthier.

In our Feature article “Learning that Transforms Hearts and Minds,” you can explore several innovative and effective ways of learning that are being practiced by businesses, students and individuals all over the world.
In “Schools that Rock: Innovators Blaze Creative Paths,” we uncover several of the most creative educational institutions and techniques. This is supplemented by a tour of alternative educational opportunities in Roanoke by Growing Up in the Valley magazine’s Amanda Powers. “Super-Immunity for Kids” features simple ways to help keep kids strong, and the “Day Care Goes Green” article takes a peek at some green and healthy child care innovations.

Local kids are learning about healthy eating habits through a popular program called “Healthy Happy Cooks.” This month, our Community Spotlight features this innovative program, which has helped thousands of city schoolchildren—and their families—eat better, and feel better as a result. As founder Heather Quintana says, “I believe that people don’t need fancy diets to be healthy, but just a diet of lean protein, and lots of fruits and vegetables—and encouragement.”

Looking for last minute expedition to fill these waning weeks before school starts? Check out “Summer Mini-Getaways: Green Travelers Recharge at Spas, Parks and Vineyards” for ideas. Or maybe you need a respite from the kids after a long lively summer at home. If so, find a few relaxing retreats in “Natural Spas in Central Virginia.” This month marks a full year of our Blue Ridge Green Travel article series by contributor Anne Piedmont. We hope you’ve enjoyed the past year’s installments and look forward to bringing you more in the coming months.
Check out our news briefs and calendar listings for green and healthy living, learning and fun opportunities happening in the coming months, and mark your calendar so you don’t miss out!
September is Yoga Month, so we’re busily preparing our September Conscious Caretaking + Yoga issue. As always, we welcome your ideas and input.